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Foster Mothering

  • By: Thenjiwe Magwaza & Susan Elizabeth de la Porte
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Foster mothering refers to the process whereby a woman who is not the biological mother of a child raises a child outside of the biological mother-child dyad. Children placed with a foster mother may be removed from biological parent/s and formally placed in the custody of a foster mother by the state authority, or alternatively, the process may be voluntary in nature. Foster mothering is normally a short-term option most frequently followed by longer-term alternatives in the form of legally binding and permanent adoption, reunification with biological parents, or placement in longer-term guardianship.

Guardianship is the norm in cases in which reunification with biological parents is not feasible, and formalized adoption is deemed unsuitable. Foster mothering differs from adoption. In legal adoptions, the child's rights to ...

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